Please, help me sound decent

Saxlicker

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#41
I don't get on the forum much these days (hopefully that will change in the next couple of years) so sorry if its already covered.
But remembering that a players tone cannot be entirely separated from the physical mechanics that produce it from embouchure and airstream support even through to fluent fingers that help skip through registers.
I pick up on 2 things...
1) Someone said on page one about working one on one with an experienced player. Elaborating on this and extending it to 'other players' in general helped me. Playing in a band from an early point put me amongst 2 more players slightly ahead of me in experience so there was always something to copy and experiment with that wasn't too advanced. I also listened as often as I could to some decent local players early evening by getting to the venue to catch them warming up and sound checking.
It's amazing what visual and aural nuances you pick up on that are hard to put into words yet you can mimic to a degree and that in turn helps expand your own control of your tone.
2) Lenny Pickett said something along the lines of......
If you work consistently you will always continue on your journey. If you have a specific goal thats slightly different, whether or not you achieve that or not. Having a goal is more like a narrative to your journey but where ever you are on it, when you look back you know you have achieved some things you wanted to along the way. Keep moving.
Now thats definately not how he said it but it's what I took from it and remembering this alone stops me dwelling too much on the stuff that doesn't quite fit the bill.
 

Stephen Howard

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1,313
#42
Lots of emphasis on looking 'inwards' - but I'm gonna suggest a rather different tack. Go outside.

Yep, go find a secluded open spot outdoors, whip your horn out and give it a blow.
The thing about playing outdoors is that it strips the sound away - which means you have to work twice as hard to fill it out It's the tonal equivalent of power lifting.
And play tunes - not exercises. Slow ballads are best - songs you really have to work at to inject some feeling into.
 
#43
I often play outside - it is quite amazing how far the sound of an acoustic wind instrument can travel - I was playing the trumpet outside on Monday and the alto sax on Wednesday (flute inside on Tuesday). I have been told on several occasions people can hear me several hundred metres away...:eek: people seem to enjoy it even when I'm playing the C Major scale...and I haven't been arrested...yet...

Greg S.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
#44
Lots of emphasis on looking 'inwards' - but I'm gonna suggest a rather different tack. Go outside.

Yep, go find a secluded open spot outdoors, whip your horn out and give it a blow.
The thing about playing outdoors is that it strips the sound away - which means you have to work twice as hard to fill it out It's the tonal equivalent of power lifting.
And play tunes - not exercises. Slow ballads are best - songs you really have to work at to inject some feeling into.

Open your case beside you. You never know.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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404
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#45
A player's "sound" doe not automatically mean tone quality or tone production. It can also mean style which is an extremely broad topic.
It could. However, you have interpreted the word in such a way which I do not believe was meant by the author. The thread title is not "help me with my sound"....nor is it "help me develop my own playing style"....which is a question people ask.

Nor is it along the lines of "I cant find my sound"...or the insufferable sorta "I hear this sound in my head, maaan, and I'm searching to make it" ...yet other common threads utilizing that word.

The OP's query, again as I interpret it...is he doesn't like how he sounds. To me this implies either tonality, or the ability to control his own notes (or both). This is also a very common thread topic, but far different from the above version related to style.

OP clearly states he is struggling with articulation and intonation. To me, that does not imply "style" whatsoever.

It implies he is struggling with some typical, fundamental things.
"The physical mechanics that produce it" as Saxlicker said above.

If you have interpreted his issue as one of style, then your suggestion is germane. But, initially, based upon your first suggestion of finding a teacher, I think you interpreted it in a similar vein as I did. In which case, as I noted, your second suggestion would bear little fruit for a person looking to correct intonation, tonality, and articulation issues he is looking to correct (which again, IMHO, necessitate some mechanical /blowing corrections).

That's all I was stating.
 
Last edited:

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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404
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New Mexico, US
#46
I often play outside - it is quite amazing how far the sound of an acoustic wind instrument can travel - I was playing the trumpet outside on Monday and the alto sax on Wednesday (flute inside on Tuesday). I have been told on several occasions people can hear me several hundred metres away...:eek: people seem to enjoy it even when I'm playing the C Major scale...and I haven't been arrested...yet...

Greg S.
Ahhhhh...so THAT explains why, whenever I play in public....folks suggest I relocate myself several hundred meters away !
 

Stephen Howard

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1,313
#48
Open your case beside you. You never know.
I find that's often more of a curse than a blessing.

You find a nice, quiet spot - set your horn up and prepare yourself for some serious practice. Not just noodling about, but the sort of stuff that's really going to make a difference in the long term. And you're ready for it. The horn is working, the reed is good, the ligature is set 'just' so...and so you set to playing.

And then along comes Mr Miggins. "Ooh is that a trumpet? I LOVE the sound of the trumpet? What? A saxophone? Oh no, I don't much like the saxophone. It reminds me of that awful man who used to be on "Excuse me, Vicar!". Now, what was his name?..."
And then Mrs Miggins wanders over. "Is he bothering you...I do apolo...oooh, is that a trumpet?..."
In the meantime Nobby Scrote and his mates have turned up. "Oi mate, gissus a tune like, innit!"
And then some kids arrive. "Hey Mistahhh...wot ya doin'? Yer rubbish...hahahaha..."

Ten minutes later and you wished you'd never bothered.
 

Keep Blowing

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#49
I find that's often more of a curse than a blessing.

You find a nice, quiet spot - set your horn up and prepare yourself for some serious practice. Not just noodling about, but the sort of stuff that's really going to make a difference in the long term. And you're ready for it. The horn is working, the reed is good, the ligature is set 'just' so...and so you set to playing.

And then along comes Mr Miggins. "Ooh is that a trumpet? I LOVE the sound of the trumpet? What? A saxophone? Oh no, I don't much like the saxophone. It reminds me of that awful man who used to be on "Excuse me, Vicar!". Now, what was his name?..."
And then Mrs Miggins wanders over. "Is he bothering you...I do apolo...oooh, is that a trumpet?..."
In the meantime Nobby Scrote and his mates have turned up. "Oi mate, gissus a tune like, innit!"
And then some kids arrive. "Hey Mistahhh...wot ya doin'? Yer rubbish...hahahaha..."

Ten minutes later and you wished you'd never bothered.
I was thinking it was a good idea, I've just changed my mind
 

Stephen Howard

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1,313
#50
I was thinking it was a good idea, I've just changed my mind
That's the thing...the hard part isn't the playing - it's the finding of a secluded spot.

There is, however, a sure-fire trick for testing the seclusion of a chosen spot...and that's to find the nearest tree and have a wazz.
It's guaranteed - if there's anyone within a two mile radius, they'll hove into view the moment you start.
 

Keep Blowing

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#51
That's the thing...the hard part isn't the playing - it's the finding of a secluded spot.

There is, however, a sure-fire trick for testing the seclusion of a chosen spot...and that's to find the nearest tree and have a wazz.
It's guaranteed - if there's anyone within a two mile radius, they'll hove into view the moment you start.
When I get the chance I take my Alto out with me in my van, I know it's the opposite of playing outside, but it's such a dead sounding space It maybe has a similar effect
 

Stephen Howard

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1,313
#52
When I get the chance I take my Alto out with me in my van, I know it's the opposite of playing outside, but it's such a dead sounding space It maybe has a similar effect
Yep, that's the sort of thing. You need an 'acoustically dead' environment - or what I call an 'anti-bathroom'.
 

saxyjt

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2,416
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France
#54
I have great sympathy for the OP as I feel very much the same. Now, I know some of the reasons for my lack of progress. Not enough practice, too many horns, mouthpieces, reeds... I feel reasonably comfortable with my alto sound, but for the rest (STB) I'm just not where I'd like to be, far from it.

Then there is the teacher question. I had one until before the summer and it certainly helped in many ways, but had some limitations in the fact that she was very classically focussed and not open to anything but related mouthpieces like Vandoren SL3, T20, B25. My wild mouthpiece chase was completely off to another planet and we couldn't meet on that ground. Not the reason I quit though. Just financials!

But, if I may, I'd like to compare playing saxophone with playing golf, for those who know what it's like. You can play for many years and find yourself stuck and not progressing. That's when you need to see a teacher that will tell you what's holding you back. Even pros have regular visits to their favorite instructor. Like some top saxophonists did with Joe Allard from what I read.
 

Terrytoolpath

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Rugby
#55
That's the thing...the hard part isn't the playing - it's the finding of a secluded spot.

There is, however, a sure-fire trick for testing the seclusion of a chosen spot...and that's to find the nearest tree and have a wazz.
It's guaranteed - if there's anyone within a two mile radius, they'll hove into view the moment you start.
Just take your wife with you, if she’s anything like mine she won’t drop her drawers if there’s anyone within a 2 mile radius....and that includes me
 
#56
I find that's often more of a curse than a blessing.

You find a nice, quiet spot - set your horn up and prepare yourself for some serious practice. Not just noodling about, but the sort of stuff that's really going to make a difference in the long term. And you're ready for it. The horn is working, the reed is good, the ligature is set 'just' so...and so you set to playing.

And then along comes Mr Miggins. "Ooh is that a trumpet? I LOVE the sound of the trumpet? What? A saxophone? Oh no, I don't much like the saxophone. It reminds me of that awful man who used to be on "Excuse me, Vicar!". Now, what was his name?..."
And then Mrs Miggins wanders over. "Is he bothering you...I do apolo...oooh, is that a trumpet?..."
In the meantime Nobby Scrote and his mates have turned up. "Oi mate, gissus a tune like, innit!"
And then some kids arrive. "Hey Mistahhh...wot ya doin'? Yer rubbish...hahahaha..."

Ten minutes later and you wished you'd never bothered.
:rofl: I can relate to this - several months set myself up outside in my secluded possie by the mighty Waikato River ready to do some serious tenor saxophone practicing and somebody comes up to me and says "Is that a violin?" What the fook! I've got 3 feet of bent brass hanging around my neck and somebody asks me this! I say to this individual "No, a violin is a string instrument, this a tenor saxophone", individual response "Uh?" and wanders off...90 to 95% of passersby take very little notice, and sometimes the odd tosspot or wannabe rap artist / beat maker (?) turn up to give their "expert" advice... :w00t:

Greg S.
 
#57
I have great sympathy for the OP as I feel very much the same. Now, I know some of the reasons for my lack of progress. Not enough practice, too many horns, mouthpieces, reeds... I feel reasonably comfortable with my alto sound, but for the rest (STB) I'm just not where I'd like to be, far from it.

Then there is the teacher question. I had one until before the summer and it certainly helped in many ways, but had some limitations in the fact that she was very classically focussed and not open to anything but related mouthpieces like Vandoren SL3, T20, B25. My wild mouthpiece chase was completely off to another planet and we couldn't meet on that ground. Not the reason I quit though. Just financials!

But, if I may, I'd like to compare playing saxophone with playing golf, for those who know what it's like. You can play for many years and find yourself stuck and not progressing. That's when you need to see a teacher that will tell you what's holding you back. Even pros have regular visits to their favorite instructor. Like some top saxophonists did with Joe Allard from what I read.
Many years ago somebody said to the great South African golfer Gary Player how he (Gary) was lucky winning all those golf tournaments, Gary Player's response was "The more I practice the luckier I get"...I think it kind of sums it up...:thumb:


Greg S.
 

lewis83

New Member
Messages
22
#59
Did you record yourself at the end of your practice?
I ask because when recording tracks I have found my intonation can drop (go a bit flat) when my embouchure gets tired or I myself are tired.
Also if uts a particularly demanding piece I can find myself concentrating too much on the music and less on what I'm doing if that makes any sense.

Anyway.
Keep practicing. You know where you may be going wrong and that is more than half the battle!
 

BigMartin

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3,705
Location
Manchester, UK
#60
I ask because when recording tracks I have found my intonation can drop (go a bit flat) when my embouchure gets tired or I myself are tired.
I tend to go sharp when I'm tired. I think it's because I start using my jaw to seal the embouchure rather than the muscles at the sides of my mouth. Sound quality deteriorates, too.
 
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